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I’m still nervous as a cat sitting here facing the big blank white space on which I hope to successfully write a column. I thought I would do this tomorrow, but the weather predictions are dire. They are calling for temperatures of 98 and I’m not sure how well I’ll be functioning, if at all. It would be a bit difficult trying to do anything with my head in the freezer.
I’m happy to report that the new refrigerator seems happy and is keeping my food from turning green and fuzzy. For the past two weeks I have had teams of electricians swarming about my place trying to figure out why I am apparently using more wattage a month during the months of June and July
They all agreed I was a model of efficiency in the energy saving department. I’m the only person in the area not running at least one air conditioner, my microwave is very low wattage, as is everything else electrical in the house.
They were quite complimentary but I told them to forgo the compliments and just explain to me why my monthly electric bill has jumped one hundred and twenty dollars a month. They all suffered a brain outage as they shrugged and said in a vague manner they didn’t know, that it probably had to do with the wiring in the building, which wasn’t their problem.
The utility company is denying any responsibility in the matter. They are only concerned with the meter reading. I’m now back in the same crunch I was in from January until June when I was fighting to get people to stop raiding my social security check every month to pay for a health insurance policy I never signed up for. It was the same sort of, “It’s not my job” response. I had to enlist the help of a United States Representative before I was able to get any where. Now I have to summon up enough pizzazz to fight a major utility corporation.
I’ve always been a pretty good consumer advocate not only for myself but for anyone too timid to do his or her own fighting, but I can tell you I’m getting a little weary. I’ve never been a paranoid person but lately I’ve been thinking of the great baseball player, Satchel Paige who advised,”Don’t look back they could be gaining on you”. I’m trying not to look back.
Now, hold your breath - there’s yet another black cloud hovering over me. This has to do with the computer. Not the use of it, which is another horror story, but the cost of it. I knew I had to chose a provider so opted for my phone company with which I’ve been satisfied. Their offer was reasonable and I would have just one bill per month. I hadn’t taken into consideration the hidden costs of installation, nor the various taxes involved.
I also hadn’t known about their hidden fiat until I was securely locked into their clutches. At the end of the discussion I was told that the only way I could change carriers was to pay a seventy dollar fine. Last month I had the first bill covering my membership in the exalted world of computer users. Lo and behold, my usual phone bill of between twenty five and thirty dollars had escalated to eighty dollars. This month’s bill is eighty dollars. This seems like a hefty sum for something I’m using once a week to send this article.
Now comes reality time, figuring how I’m going to manage to exist. The extra hundred and twenty dollars for electricity swallowed up my entire food budget for a month. My cat’s dead so I can’t cadge any of his food. I sat down this morning and analyzed my phone bill searching for ways to pare it.
I employed the use of an awfully nice girl in Massachusetts, (thank goodness she wasn’t in India with an unfathomable accent), who went over all my charges. We found several I can easily live without. Call waiting is one. I’ve never been able to make it work right. The other is the push star 69 to find out who was calling when I was unable to get to the phone in time. Nine times out of ten it was a telemarketer. I still cannot figure out how a charge that started to be eighteen dollars a month suddenly jumped to fifty or sixty. She promised that the next bill would be much lower.
We talked for quite a while. It turned out that she has an electrical bill problem just like mine and is preparing to call a Senator about it. Where’s a Lancelot when you need him?
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